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Statement by Prime Minister Anthony on the Criminal Code - April 4, 2002

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The fight against crime is a multifaceted one involving, among other things, changes to the criminal law and procedure, improvements in policing and the establishment of a cooperative relationship between the community and law enforcement. The Government of Saint Lucia has embarked on a number of initiatives designed to address all the various dimensions of this fight. Recently a new Evidence Bill secured passage in the House of Assembly and is currently awaiting passage through the Senate on its way to becoming law.

The next major legislative event, in this regard, is the enactment of a reformed Criminal Code. This code contains nearly all the provisions of law pertaining to crime and criminal activity and represents the single most important document in the criminal justice system. Consequently, it is crucial that the provisions of this document be subject to widespread discussion prior to its passage into law.

The Attorney Generalís Chambers initiated a process of consultation over one year ago, designed to elicit the views of persons in the justice sector as well as the wider community. A consultant from the School of Law, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago held a number of meetings with interested parties in an effort to seek their views on the various aspects of the Code. This process produced some useful ideas, which have been included in the present draft of the document.

The Bill has had its First Reading in the House and was scheduled to be read a second time at the next Sitting of that Chamber of Parliament. However, the recent decision of the Privy Council in the Hughesí Case caused a last minute review of the provisions pertaining to capital punishment by the Cabinet. During this review, Cabinet took the opportunity to further reflect on some of the very old provisions in the Code, particularly those which affect oneís personal sexual choices. Cabinet further took note of the recent increases in cases of sexual exploitation of female children by adult females.

As a result of this renewed reflection, Cabinet agreed that an additional opportunity should be given to the general public to express their views on these and other crucial issues relating to the criminal law.

The Attorney Generalís Chambers has been given the responsibility to circulate copies of the Bill to all public libraries and, through the Government Information Service GIS, to ensure its placement on the Governmentís web site. Members of the public are invited to peruse the Bill and submit any comments thereupon to the Attorney General for the consideration of Cabinet.

It is governmentís intention that this additional consultative period will end on Friday 10, May 2002 to enable the document to be further refined for submission to Parliament for passage into law during the early part of June.

April 4, 2002 Office of the Prime Minister


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